Raga identification made easy!

Surabhi Post Raga Classification And Structure 2

Now that we have arrived at the 72 Melakarthas, it is time to talk about the Janya Ragas. Janya ragas may be defined as ragas which are born out of the melakartha ragas or in other words, they are derivatives / subsets of the melakartha ragas. Since melakartha ragas contain all the 7 swaras in their arohanam - avarohanam patterns, they are also called sampoorna ragas. A janya raga can be derived by deleting or omitting certain swaras from the arohanam-avarohanam of a parent raga. For e.g., from the 29th mela raga, Shankarabaranam, if we omit swaras G and N in the arohanam and keep the avarohanam the same as the parent, we end up with the janya raga 'Arabhi'. From the same parent, suppose we omit the same G and N in both arohanam and avarohanam, we end up with the janyam, 'Suddha Saveri'. Thus for each parent many number of janya ragas can be arrived at. The janya ragas can be classified on the basis of their arohanam-avarohanam swara patterns. If a janya raga has only 5 swaras in both its ascent and descent, then it is named as Audava-Audava raga (audava meaning five). If the janya raga has 6 swaras both ways, it is called Shadava-Shadava (shadava meaning six). Similarly other possibilities of arohanam and avarohanam being dissimilar, like audava-shadava or shadava sampoorna are also possible. On working out the various possibilities it is possible to arrive at eight different types of janya ragas namely sampoorna - shadava (or the reverse of it, shadava - sampoorna), sampoorna - audava (or the reverse), shadava - shadava, audava - audava, shadava - audava and audava - shadava.

Apart from this classification, janya ragas can also be classified into three types depending on the nature of swaras in their arohanam - avarohanam.

Upanga ragas - Those ragas which have no deviation from the swaras present in their parent. Eg., Abhogi is a janyam of Karaharapriya, whatever swaras are present in Abhogi are the same swaras as those present in the parent.

Bhashanga ragas - Those ragas which contain some additional or anya swaras (not present in the parent) apart from the ones derived from the parent raga. Eg., Bhairavi, a janyam of Nata Bhairavi, contains D2 in the arohanam which is not present in the parent.

Vakra ragas - Those ragas which have zig-zag swara patterns in their arohanam and avarohanam. Eg., Kanada, a janyam of karaharapriya, has S R2 P G2 M1 D2 N2 S in its arohanam and S N2 P M1 G2 M1 R2 S in its avarohanam.

Some of the other sites which provide information about janya ragas has been listed below -



With this background about raga structure and classification, we are now ready to plunge in to various other aspects, like raga swaroopa and lakshana, similarities between ragas and many more … which we will do in our next post.

Till then, happy reading and listening!

Musically yours,


A step by step initiation in to Carnatic music theory addressing raga classification, common music terminologies, various swara sthanas, raga lakshanas and more...Do take time to go through our blogs where all concepts are described with appropriate audio demonstrations. (Explanations in English)